The Supreme Court on Thursday, 13 August, stayed contempt proceedings issued by the Delhi High Court against the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) for failing to publish the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment notification in multiple regional languages.
What’s This About?
On 30 June, the high court had asked MOEF to publish the Draft Notification in regional languages mentioned in the eighth schedule of the Constitution by 10 August 2020. The bench had also pointed out that the deadline for filing objections to the Draft EIA Notification was 11 August 2020.
On 11 August, a single-judge bench of the Delhi High Court issued a contempt notice to the centre, after petitioner Vikram Tongad alleged "wilful disobedience" and "deliberate defiance" on the part of the Central, as it had filed to publish translations of the Draft EIA Notification in regional languages by 10 August, as had been directed by the HC.
What the SC Said
Agreeing with the spirit of the Delhi HC order, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said that the Centre was at liberty to withdraw the petition before it and challenge the 30 June order before the Delhi High Cout itself.
According to The Print, the Supreme Court also advised the Centre to amend the Official Languages Act, 1963, which could pave the way for publication of official notifications languages other than Hindi and English.
Presently, the act only provides for publication of notifications in Hindi and English.
EIA Notification in Tamil Soon
Meanwhile, the Centre has told the Madras High Court that the Draft EIA Notification has been translated in Tamil and will be published soon, reports The New Indian Express.
A two-member bench of Justices MM Sundresh and R Hemalatha was informed by Additional Solicitor General R Shankaranarayanan that an affidavit in the matter would be filed after receiving necessary instruction from authorities.
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